The Detroit Red Wings are eager to see Tyler Bertuzzi in an All-Star Game. Filmed Jan. 21, 2020 in Saint Paul, Minn. Detroit Free Press
The NHL trade deadline is two weeks away, and once again the Detroit Red Wings will be sellers.
They host the Boston Bruins in a Sunday matinee at Little Caesars Arena, after being shut out for the third time in four games Friday at Columbus. The Wings ended a nine-game winless skid Thursday at Buffalo, but are entrenched at the bottom of the NHL standings with a 13-39-4 record.
General manager Steve Yzerman has been busy scouting prospects for the 2020 draft, but his more immediate task is to see if he can acquire more picks via trades before the Feb. 24 deadline.
That’s the subject of this mailbag edition, which focuses on a question from a Free Press reader in Pennsylvania:
“Hi Helene, Do you think anyone on the club is untradeable? If the right deal came along, could you see Yzerman dealing Larkin or Bertuzzi?” — Joe D.A., Allentown
Forwards Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi top the list of who the Wings should not entertain trading. Larkin, 23, is an elite skater with tremendous inner drive, and while his numbers (39 points in 56 games) reflect what a poor season the team is having, he is a 30-goal scorer who is good at both ends of the ice. Bertuzzi, who turns 25 this month, leads the Wings with 18 goals and ranks second behind Larkin with 37 points. Bertuzzi also has a history from juniors and the AHL of excelling in the playoffs.
It also doesn’t make sense to trade Anthony Mantha, Filip Zadina and Filip Hronek, as all three are hold value in the rebuild. (There is also a list of prospects, headlined by Moritz Seider and Joe Veleno).
Yzerman has made multiple low-key trades since being named general manager in April, highlighted by exchanging Jacob de la Rose for Robby Fabbri. Since being acquired Nov. 6, Fabbri is tied with Larkin with a team-leading 27 points in 39 games. Yzerman will be hard pressed to use the trade deadline to help the rebuild, because the players who top the selling list are having poor seasons.
Veterans who are in the final year of their contracts include goaltender Jimmy Howard and defensemen Mike Green and Trevor Daley. Howard, who turns 36 next month, has the worst save percentage (.889) and goals-against average (3.98) in the NHL and has not won a game since Oct. 29. Green, 34, has eight points in 41 games and has struggled to stay healthy two seasons running. Daley, 36, has six points in 30 games and likewise has struggled to stay healthy. Maybe a prospective contender gambles on Green or Daley, but there wouldn’t be much in return.
Forward Andreas Athanasiou, 25, has trade value because he’s a fast skater who can create scoring chances out of nowhere, but he’s another player enduring a lousy season, with just 19 points in 39 games and an NHL-worst minus-40 rating. Unless a team makes an offer more in line with the value Athanasiou had last season as a 30-goal scorer, the Wings are better off keeping him for now.
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